The Aventura City of Excellence School recently conducted an on campus mini conference. In an effort to continue to encourage innovation the “Spark Conference” was designed and implemented one-hour learning opportunities that were a combination of relevant issues in education today and topics teachers were interested in learning more about. Educators are constantly researching new methods and strategies that will help ignite students’ motivation and encourage them to reach their potential. A full day was committed to professional development by teachers, for teachers.
ACES began by requesting feedback related to topics the staff felt were most relevant to their professional development. A survey was sent schoolwide encouraging teachers to submit topics that were of interest to them as well as asking for volunteers to be session presenters. As a result of the survey, ten EdCamp style sessions were created. EdCamps are unique sessions that allow teachers to hold informal round-table discussions where they can share, brainstorm and ask questions. EdCamp sessions also give teachers the flexibility to move from session to session during the allotted time instead of committing to one single topic of interest.
In addition to the EdCamp sessions teachers could attend sessions on topics that are on the forefront of educational issues they face daily in their classroom. The topics included Student-Centered Learning, Yoga in the Classroom, Experiencing Dyslexia, Classroom Management, Using HyperDocs for Interactive Lessons, Team-Building in the Classroom and Infusing Technology into Writing! The conference also included a general session that all teachers attended with a former student as a guest speaker. The student spoke about his time at ACES and how those experiences related to his high school experience.
At ACES we strive to balance allowing student choice, ownership and a voice in the learning process creating–personalized learning, with academic rigor. If we want our students to personalize their learning, then as educators we need these same opportunities to “spark” our creativity and reinvigorate our spirit through learning topics that integrate standards based instruction with educational topics that fit our needs and our passions.
The feedback from the conference was overwhelmingly positive, “It was all done well! I liked that we could pick the sessions that were interesting to us. I honestly felt like all of the sessions I attended were meaningful and a good use of my time! It was also fun and engaging. I liked being able to talk to teachers that I do not usually see during a typical day.” The conference allowed teachers to learn from each other, discover the many wonderful things happening in classrooms and inspire one another to grow as professional educators.
To learn more about Aventura City of Excellence School , go to www.aventuracharter.org . The School is located at 3333 NE 188th Street, Aventura, FL 33180, Phone: 305-466-1499.